Home Remedies for Pets

Remedies for Fleas, Dry Skin, Cuts, Skunk Spray, and More

May 13, 2020

Here are some valuable home remedies for dogs and cats that can keep your pet happy and healthy. From getting rid of fleas to caring for dry skin, let’s get those dog tails wagging and cats purring. 

Home Remedies for Fleas

Use these home remedies to get rid of fleas on pets and in the home.

Remember: He that lieth down with dogs shall rise up with fleas.

  • Place a flea collar in the bag of your vacuum cleaner. Any fleas you sweep up will stay put in there.
  • If you don’t want to use a flea collar with insecticides, active ingredients such as cedar, lemongrass, rosemary, and marigold won’t exterminate fleas, but will deter them.
  • Give your dog a flea bath with limonene shampoo, and flea-comb him down thoroughly while he’s in the water so the fleas drown.
  • As a flea deterrent, try adding a teaspoon of vinegar to each quart of the animal’s drinking water. It helps keep pets free of fleas and ticks but is not harmful to the pet itself. Learn about the other helpful household uses for vinegar.
  • Sprinkle borate powder into crevices of couches and chairs.
  • Stock your yard with off-leaf larvae-eating nematodes (available at pet and garden stores). Nematodes will also help to bring down your Japanese beetle population.
  • Getting proper nutrition for your pets is the best flea prevention. Add brewer’s yeast to your pet’s food, as well as essential fatty acids such as omega-3 and omega-6. Check out these tips for proper pet nutrition.
  • Spray window and door screens with distilled water containing several drops of bitter orange essential oil. (Fleas hate citrus scent and will avoid crawling in through the screens.)
  • Learn everything you need to know about fleas. Try this page for even more home remedies for fleas.

Photo Credit: Crestock.

Itchiness: Dry Skin on Dogs and Cats

  • Oatmeal Bath: Put uncooked oatmeal or rolled oats into a sock or nylon stocking and run a tubful of warm water over it. Soak your dog (cats will rarely let you do this) in the water for 5 to 10 minutes. Oatmeal-based shampoos are also available at pet stores. Find out more about oatmeal’s soothing benefits.
  • Aggravated skin sores, also known as hot spots, can make your pet miserable. If you see a hot spot developing, clip about one-half to one inch around the sore to prevent hair and other dirt from further aggravating it. Clean the sore with hydrogen peroxide on gauze or a cotton ball, and after it dries, spray the area with cortisone cream. Do this twice a day until the sore starts to dry out or a scab begins to form.

Home Treatment for Cuts, Scrapes, Abrasions

  • Mix together 1 pint water, ½-teaspoon salt, and ½ teaspoon calendula tincture.
  • Soak an injured paw in the solution. If the wound is on the body, put the solution in a squirt bottle or large syringe and gently apply it to the injured area.
  • Repeat the soaking or application every 4 to 6 hours for the first 24 hours.

Home Treatment for Bites and Scratches

For serious bites and scratches, take your pet to the vet. For smaller wounds:

  • Rinse out the fresh wounds and punctures with large amounts of this solution: 1 pint water, ½ teaspoon salt, and ½ teaspoon Echinacea/goldenseal tincture.
  • Hydrogen peroxide may also be used to clean wounds, but it can damage delicate tissues.
  • Cat wounds are notorious for forming abscesses. If the abscess is draining, clean it with with Echinacea/goldenseal solution. Always wear latex gloves while handling an abscess.


How to Heal Tissue Trauma

  • If your pet falls, gets stepped on, is in a fight, or is otherwise bruised, the common homeopathic remedy arnica can speed recovery. Give two pellets of arnica 30c once per hour for three hours following the injury.

What to Do if a Pet Is Choking

You can perform the Heimlich maneuver on animals.

  • Lift a small pet, or reach over the back of a large one and raise the back legs, so that the rear end is elevated over the head.
  • Place your hands around the lowest part of the chest and give a quick, gentle thrust inward and upward. 
  • Remember to scale the force of your thrust to the size of your pet. For small pets, imagine you are performing this on an infant or toddler.

Pet Indigestion or Loose Stool

  • When your dog scavenges something from the compost pile, it irritates the bowel, creating nerve impulses that signal the gut to speed up. When food moves too quickly through the gut, the result is loose stools. In dogs and cats with chronic inflammatory bowel disease, the gut responds as if irritated at the slightest stress or change of diet.
  • The herb slippery elm, available as powder or capsules, coats the lining of the gastrointestinal tract, counteracting the irritation and allowing stools to firm up. Put 1 tablespoon of the powder (break open capsules) into 1 pint of water and bring to a boil to thicken. Let it cool, and administer by mouth. Give a teaspoon or less to small pets and several tablespoons to large dogs every 2 to 4 hours, until the gut settles down (usually 8 to 24 hours).
  • Also, be sure to check our list of foods that are poisonous to pets so that you can keep your furry friends from too many stomach aches.


Burrs in Fur: Tips for Grooming

  • For dogs, comb the burrs in their fur with a metal comb immediately. If burrs are badly tangled, rub vegetable oil on your fingers and work the lubrication slowly through the fur until you can pull the burrs out.
  • Cats typically will want to take care of their own grooming, but you can help by gently working through the mess with a wire brush. Most cats won’t let you cut the fur or lubricate it the way a dog will. (We suggest wearing long sleeves… Maybe even two layers.)

Remedies for Itchy Ears

  • The contents of a vitamin E capsule can soothe red or inflamed areas of the ear.
  • A gentle cleaning with a cotton swab or gauze dipped into vegetable oil can help to remove a buildup of wax and dirt.
  • Remember that dog and cat ear canals take a right-angle turn at the base of the ear, and be careful not to jam anything deep into the ear canal.


Home Remedies for Sore or Runny Eyes

  • A simple rinse of saline solution can help a mild eye irritation. Continue eye drops every four hours, until clear.
  • If symptoms persist, consult with your vet.

How to Ease Pet Arthritis

  • Massage helps to relieve muscle tension that contributes to pain. Be gentle. Start from the center of the body and work your way outward. If feet are too sensitive, leave them alone.
  • Nutritional research suggests that supplements containing chondroitin sulfate and glucosaminoglycans can help inflamed or damaged joints. Check with your vet or health-food store.
  • Egg-crate foam and other creature comforts can bring relief to older and arthritic pets. Buy enough foam for two or three beds, cover the foam with washable covers (easy to make from old towels), and put them into the places your pet likes to sleep.
  • Find more tips about caring for an elderly pet.
  • How old is your dog? Find out your dog’s age in dog years with our dog age conversion chart.


How to Get Rid of Skunk Spray on Pets

  • Bathe your dog in a mixture of 1 quart hydrogen peroxide, ¼ cup baking soda, and 1 teaspoon liquid soap. Work the solution into the fur (avoiding eyes), then rinse.
  • To rid the stench from your pet, douse him with tomato juice, leaving it on for several minutes before rinsing it off. For a large dog, a single washing can require several cans of tomato juice. You may have to repeat the procedure, but the odor will eventually work itself out of your pet’s coat.
  • Get more tips for dealing with that gross skunk spray smell.

Check out these tips for pet home safety so that you never have to use these home remedies! Also, try our ideas for pet-proofing your home.

Is your pet a bit overweight? Check out these tips to help them lose the pounds.


Note: The Old Farmer’s Almanac does not have professional vets on staff, so please do not inquire about serious pet health issues on this page. Contact a vet immediately if your pet develops serious symptoms, such as trouble breathing, urinating, or moving, or if s/he shows signs of shaking or weakness, seizures, confusion, fever, vomiting (unless it’s a hairball), swelling, deep wounds, bleeding in urine or poop, or other ailments that may indicate that the pet requires prompt attention. If your vet office is not open during an emergency, there are 24-hour veterinary hospitals that you can call for advice; check with your vet beforehand to get the number of one, or search online. If your financial resources are limited, your vet may be able to work with you to develop a payment plan. There are also other options for financial assistance, including pet insurance (for future ailments); for advice, consult a local animal shelter or local branch of an animal welfare association, such as The Humane Society.

What are some of your favorite home remedies for your pets?

Reader Comments

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My cat is an indoor/outdoor

My cat is an indoor/outdoor cat. He came home stumbling, shaking, throwing up stomach bial, constipated, can't urinate, won't eat or drink, he's leaving drops of blood and is laying in the litter box. If anyone has any advice I'm all ears :(

If your cat can't urinate

The Editors's picture

If your cat can't urinate (whether from urinary tract problems, something toxic that he ate, or other problem), that can be very serious. His other symptoms also suggest that he needs prompt attention. We recommend that you take your cat in to the vet immediately.
Best wishes,
The Old Farmer's Almanac staff

my cat has been real sick

my cat has been real sick lost over 15lbs wont eat drinks very little weak and has flem running out the side of his mouth and is gagging flem up its all over his chest it hardened and smells bad he has been sick for over 2 weeks now can someone please help idk what to do our try dont know if its stomach or what he did have a runny nose and sneezed alot then got to this

You better hope your pet is

You better hope your pet is not rabid, take it to the vet sounds like it may be suffering, worse, could be contagious too. Good luck I hope and pray for you and your pet.

My dog has ear mite what can

My dog has ear mite what can I do to get rid of them?

According to

The Editors's picture

According to http://ipm.ncsu.edu: 
Examination of material from the ears by a veterinarian will confirm the presence or absence of ear mites. One type of treatment consists of washing the auditory canal with an alcohol based solution of "ear cleaner." After the pet has removed the solution by violent shaking of the head, an emulsion of a miticide, antibiotics and mineral oil is dropped into the auditory canal to kill the mites, stop any secondary bacterial infection and to soothe the ears. Such a treatment should be applied several times as prescribed by the veterinarian. If a pet has mild symptoms, the application of mineral oil alone to the auditory canal is sufficient to control ear mites.

I clean the ears with QOne

I clean the ears with QOne good cleaning lasts a long timetipps dipped in peroxide

I remember when my dog angel

I remember when my dog angel was so irritable for a couple of days. I know something was really wrong but since I'm still a new pet owner at that time and no idea what's going on, I brought her to the vet and found out that she's feeling itchy all over. If I only know before that I just need an oatmeal to alleviate her itchiness, then I'm sure I was able to save a couple of bucks.

Thanks for the great tips!


my little chihuahua is 7

my little chihuahua is 7 years old and is heart worm pos i have her on trifexis vet told me the heart worms wood not get any worse but she has a bad cough more like a hack i take her to the vet and they give her a shot not sure what it is but it stops the hacking right then it use to last 3 months now its once a month if that long this shot is just not working anymore this has been going on for years and every time she gets the shot its 45 bucks witch if it wood last longer than a month i wood not mind it.can anyone help me and my little bonnie with any advice

Infection in the floppy part

Infection in the floppy part of the ear.
I have recently taken over the care of a dog that belongs to a friend of mine. She has a weird birth defect. She has no ear canal or ear drum in one ear. The problem she has now is the ear flap itself is full of infection it's hot to the touch, she whines all the time. I don't have the money to take her to the vet. My friend said he has had the vet lance the ear before but the infection just keeps coming back. I don't know how to help her and it's driving me crazy. Any & All ideas would be appreciated.
Thank you

You have to keep the dog from

You have to keep the dog from flapping his ears. This creates a slap at the end of the ear that creates blood to flow to the end and it hurts them. We used a nylon stocking and cut it so the one leg hole goes through the one ear and the other one through the other ear and used a head band to hold it on. If you can keep them from doing the flapping until it heals it will be good. Also treat the ears with home remedies for ear mites or fungus.
Thanks, hope this helps.

Looking for

Looking for natural(household)remedy for respiratory infections in cats.thank you

There are various ready-made

The Editors's picture

There are various ready-made homeopathic medicines available in tablet or liquid form to help with feline respiratory ailments. You can find them by searching online.

Before introducing any new medication, please consult your veterinarian for what is best for your pet, including proper dosage for your cat's size, age, and health condition. Also, keep in mind that some cats may develop allergic reactions to certain natural or other medications.

Feline respiratory infections are often caused by a virus, rather than a bacteria. To help your cat fight the infection, keep his/her sinus passages moist by turning on a humidifier, or helping the cat to breathe in steam from a bathroom after someone has taken a shower.

Provide plenty of water to drink, since your cat may tend to get dehydrated during an infection.

Keep the sleeping area clean and warm. Clean all food and water bowls, and the litter box, regularly.

i have been given the advise

i have been given the advise form an animal care person who takes care of 30 plus animals,my bull dog has had nine litters of puppies one of the nipples is hanging to the ground filling with fluid and he said instead of having surgury,i should put a small rubber band around the nipple to cut off the circulation and with in five to six days it would dry up and fall off ,is there a vet that would agree with this?

Hey Celena! I don't know of

Hey Celena!

I don't know of any vet who would advise you to cut corners and save $$ with what you have described- and in fact the opposite might occur; the cut off and dying nipple might turn gangrenous and result in a very expensive surgery and medical treatment to save your dog's life. Bite the bullet and take her to the vet please!

My 13 yr old cat pulled out

My 13 yr old cat pulled out one of her front claws. Following was an awful stench. After antibacterial soaks, along with peroxide & ointment it seemed ok, until another front paw had same symptoms. She then had two weeks of amoxicillin. During this time, a third rear paw became swollen & infected. Vet says it may be a bronchial cancer that spread to the feet. And an x-ray of her chest & a biopsy of her feet could be done. She is now on stronger antibiotics. Although prognosis doesn't seem good. Any advice would be helpful

We're terribly sorry about

The Editors's picture

We're terribly sorry about your cat, and hope that she will be able to feel better soon. Cats normally pull on their claw sheaths to take off the top layer, which sheds. It sounds as if, however, there was an infection in the surrounding tissue. Older cats do tend to have claws that are overgrown and brittle. They may not use the scratching post as often, which means that their claws may get too long and there might be more chance of infection.

Nail bed infections can occur for various reasons, including fungal or bacterial infections, cancer, feline leukemia, immune system diseases, hyperthyroidism, ringworm, injury to the area, or cutting the nail too close to the nail bed (if you trim your cat's nails, make sure that your cut doesn't travel into the pink area of the claw, called the quick). If the infection occurs on different feet, from what we are reading, it appears likely that it might be another illness/problem that is causing the nail bed infection, which appears to be along the same lines of what your veterinarian is thinking. You might talk to your vet about which (if any) of the above illnesses, as well as any others, could be possibilities in your cat's situation.

You are certainly free to get a second opinion from another veterinarian, if you feel you should. Or, you can ask your vet if s/he could recommend a feline dermatologist, a specialist who might be more familiar with diseases of the nail bed and underlying causes.

As an alternative, you might try calling an emergency veterinary clinic in your area. They often can talk to you over the phone about what certain possibilities might be, although to make the best diagnosis, they'd have to see the cat.

Also, if there is a veterinary school in your area, you might try calling them for advice. For example, the Cornell University College of Veterinary Medicine in Ithaca, New York, is a well-respected school for veterinary medicine. It appears to be linked to the following service (we have no knowledge about it, but it looks like something to consider): The Dr. Louis J. Camuti Memorial Feline Consultation Service offers a phone consultation for a fee. After talking with you about your cat's health, they would make some recommendations of which you would then talk over with your local veterinarian. (Consultants cannot diagnose or treat your pet over the telephone.) To learn more about this service, see:


A veterinary university near you might offer a similar service to the public.

Hope this helps! Our thoughts are with you and your cat.

Hi Ms Viscuso, I hope this

Hi Ms Viscuso, I hope this comes in time to help you & your cat. If it is cancer, you can check curenaturalicancro.com with a video to watch and several links to the right, one of which is "Treatment Protocols". Doctor T. Simoncini has been treating his cancer patients for the last 20 years with Sodium Bicarbonate (Baking Soda) & having enormous succes. If you think this would be a fit for you & your cat, discuss it with your vet to see if he would be willing to do the treatments. Dr. Simoncini also has cancerisafungus.com. Both very informative sites. Frankincense oil is very good for any type of necrosis & tumors/fungal-based cancers. Helichrysm is a great healing oil & oregano oil is great for fungus, bacteria, virus. I hope that helps.

Diamataceous Earth (food

Diamataceous Earth (food grade) is a natural supplement that kills fleas and worms on contact. It works by essentially creating cracks in the pests exoskeleton, thus drying them out. Give approx 1 tbsp mixed in with food (depending on dogs size) to treat for parasites. It is natural and safe to use as both a preventative and treatment. Topically you can apply directly to fur to treat for fleas; you can sprinkle some on your dogs waste if they have worms to prevent accidental transmissions to other pets. (Although its best to just pick it up right away anyway) if you are treating for an active case of worms continue the treatment for at least 1-2 month. Since DE kills on contact with the organism only you need to be sure to continue the treatment for several larvae cycles to ensure they don't come back. Can also be used around perimeter of your house. Be sure you only use FOOD GRADE diamataceous earth, and take precautions not to inhale or let your pets inhale it. Like any small particulate it can cause lung damage if inhaled frequently.

Where do you find this

Where do you find this diamataceous earth ? and you say it is healthy to put on your dog to help kill flea's . please and thank you pammy

Diamataceous Earth

As long as it's the "food grade", I can assure you nothing works better on flea's, worms and the digestive track! It's all I use on my pets!! Just sprinkle a little on their food (I use 1/4 tsp every other day for small pets) and also massage some it into their coat and ears and that's the last you will be bothered with fleas. Just make sure the fine powder doesn't go air born as it's so fine it shouldn't be inhaled.
The following site has all the info you need :) Plus, as you will see...it does wonderful things for us humans as well...I take it every day without fail. Simply amazing stuff-don't know why vet's don't let people know about it since it's 100% organic and healthy.

thomas recently went blind, i

thomas recently went blind, i made a braclet of jingle bells, when he gets off track or turn around, a shake of the arm and gen. name and direction calling brings him on track

my pet levi had crutiet

my pet levi had crutiet surgery and there was or looked liked after the staples were out that the skin was coming apart. this is what i did i put some tea tree oil mixed with olive oil and put on his wound, and it worked as well it is a antibacterial agent... many uses for tea tree oil